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USATSI

The first week of the 2021 college football season already has three days worth of games in the books, with contests played on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But there's three more to go in Week 1 with an absolutely loaded slate Saturday filled with top 25 matchups and big-time games throughout the day into the evening. Not only is there a rare top-five matchup in Week 1, there's four other games being contested between AP Top 25 teams that will undoubtedly shake up the college football rankings when they are released this week on Tuesday.

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson in Charlotte is clearly the game of the day, and it stands as the biggest remaining showdown left on a schedule that has already been tremendous on Saturday. There's still a ton of other top 25 teams in action throughout the evening with games still to be played Sunday and Monday.

While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff on Saturday to the final whistle. Let's take a look at our expert picks for the first full Saturday of the season.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami (FL) -- Atlanta

Latest Odds: Alabama Crimson Tide -19.5

3:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Complacency won't be an issue for Alabama's new-look offense, which will keep its foot on the gas for all four quarters no matter the score. After all, they have to get those game reps. Whether Miami can keep up will depend on what D'Eriq King is able to do against this Crimson Tide defense, but the Hurricanes should do enough to keep pressure on Bryce Young and Co. for all four quarters. Alabama will get the job done and force a few mistakes, but Las Vegas isn't giving the Hurricanes enough respect. Prediction: Miami (+18.5) -- Barrett Sallee

No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa

Latest Odds: Iowa Hawkeyes -3.5

3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free) -- I have these two teams rated extremely close to one another, not just as top-half squads in their own division but even within a point of each other on a neutral field. That's where I lean on a home field advantage component that Iowa did not have in 2020 and will certainly have with fans back in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Iowa doesn't often lose in these spots as a short favorite anywhere, and I don't expect that trend to reverse at home in a season opener with plenty of time to prepare for a crucial conference game against a ranked foe. Prediction: Iowa -3 -- Chip Patterson


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Dennis Dodd
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Tom Fornelli
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Chip Patterson
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Barrett Sallee
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David Cobb
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Shehan Jeyarajah
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Jerry Palm
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Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1, and which national title contender will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned over $3,600 in profit over the past five-plus seasons -- and find out.

No. 23 Louisiana at No. 21 Texas

Latest Odds: Texas Longhorns -8.5

4:30 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) -- There's no question: Texas is the more talented team, perhaps the most talented team Louisiana has played in several years. Yes, Texas is breaking in a number of unproven underclassmen, but after all the upset alert talk this offseason, it's unlikely the Longhorns will overlook this critical home opener. Still, Louisiana's defense keeps this close down the stretch. Prediction: Louisiana (+9) -- Shehan Jeyarajah


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Dennis Dodd
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Tom Fornelli
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Chip Patterson
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Barrett Sallee
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David Cobb
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Shehan Jeyarajah
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Jerry Palm
ATS
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No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson -- Charlotte

Latest Odds: Clemson Tigers -2.5

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Clemson doesn't really lose in Charlotte. I understand that facing Georgia is not the same as whoever the ACC Coastal spits out for the Tigers in their annual playoff warm-up, but there's little "neutral" about Bank of America Stadium. I like Clemson's edge because of its quarterback advantage. D.J. Uiagalelei has the kind of dual-threat playmaking ability that might be needed in a close, heavyweight-style fight. "Big Game Dabo" has put the ball in the hands of his quarterback in crunch-time situations for nearly a decade -- from Tajh Boyd to Deshaun Watson to Lawrence and now Uiagalelei. D.J. is the difference, and Clemson will win by a touchdown. Prediction: Clemson (-3) -- Chip Patterson

No. 16 LSU at UCLA

Latest Odds: LSU Tigers -1.5

8:30 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) -- LSU is going to be a force, and it'll start on Saturday with a big win over the Bruins. Max Johnson and wide receiver Kayshon Boutte will have huge games and make a statement to the college football world that the Tigers are back. On the flip side, the talented LSU defensive backfield -- led by Derek Stingley Jr. -- will force multiple mistakes in what will be a double-digit victory. Prediction: LSU (-3.5) -- Barrett Sallee


headshot-image
Dennis Dodd
headshot-image
Tom Fornelli
headshot-image
Chip Patterson
headshot-image
Barrett Sallee
headshot-image
David Cobb
headshot-image
Shehan Jeyarajah
headshot-image
Jerry Palm
ATS
SU

No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin

Latest Odds: Wisconsin Badgers -5.5

Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) -- It is not easy to get a great read on this game, and I believe the oddsmakers have this one lined up just about right. I lean towards Wisconsin simply because home teams should have a significant advantage early in the season as visitors get acclimated to playing in front of fans again. Camp Randall Stadium is already a raucous atmosphere, and it could take Penn State a little more time to adjust in the first game back. Prediction: Wisconsin (-5.5) -- Tom Fornelli